Josephine Felix is the namesake of the Madame Felix Mining District. She was a rancher and waystation operator, offering travelers in the area a place to rest and get supplies. Josephine also performed the duties of midwife for birthing mothers.
The history of the mining district, however, can be richer than the value of its ore. Because of the seasonally hospitable landscape and year-round water supply, the Salt Springs Valley attracted modest ranching and farming operations. Essentially, all these ranchers and their employees at some time or other dabbled in mining. They prospected, proved up claims, formed special ventures with their neighbors and worked as miners for the larger Madam Felix mines. Because mining is not always profitable--you either find gold or don’t find gold--these residents of Salt Springs Valley would return to their ranches and farms when their luck was bad. Therefore the story of Madame Felix Mining District is about the relationships between these resident rancher-miners, and their families. The lives of several generations of families like the McCartys and Towers are interwoven with the more transient prospectors, promoters, miners and mine operators.
This excerpt from the History of Copperopolis courtesy of the “School Tour” notes by Linda Beck,with permission taken directly from "Tools Are On The Bar" written by Charlie & Rhoda Stone.
From CABA website.
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